Ohio has had a sore loser law since before 1958. It says, “3513.04: No person who seeks party nomination for an office or position at a primary election by declaration of candidacy shall be permitted to become a candidate at the following general election for any office by nominating petition, including a nomination petition filed under 3517.012.”
On August 7, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted told the press that this means Donald Trump cannot possibly get on the November 2016 ballot as a presidential candidate (unless he is the Republican nominee) because at the August 6 debate he “declared his candidacy” for the Republican nomination. Husted is interpreting the term “declaration of candidacy” to mean a candidate’s spoken words in any conversational setting, rather than a reference to an Ohio election form.
Ohio election code 3513.04 says, “Candidates for party nominations…shall have their names printed on the official primary ballot by filing a declaration of candidacy.” The words “declaration of candidacy” appear in many places in the Ohio election law, and it seems clear that when the sore loser talks about a “declaration of candidacy”, it means that piece of paper; it doesn’t mean something said orally by the candidate. The term “declaration of candidacy” has appeared in the Ohio election law for more than a century.
If Secretary of State Husted’s interpretation of “declaration of candidacy” is accurate, then Lyndon LaRouche could never have been on the Ohio ballot as an independent in 1984, because in 1983 he had declared his intent to run in Democratic presidential primaries in 1984. LaRouche even ran in the Ohio Democratic presidential primary and as an independent in Ohio in November 1984.
If Husted is correct about the meaning of “declaration of candidacy”, then Gary Johnson could not have been on the Ohio general election ballot in November 2012, because he had declared his intent to seek the Republican nomination on April 21, 2011. If Husted is correct, then John Anderson could not have been on the Ohio ballot in Novembeer 1980, because he had declared himself a candidate for the Republican nomination on June 8, 1979. If Husted is correct, then Pat Buchanan could not have appeared on the November 2000 ballot as the Reform Party nominee, because he had declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination on March 2, 1999. If Husted is correct, then Lenora Fulani could not have been on the Ohio November 1992 ballot, because she had declared her intent to seek the Democratic nomination on December 17, 1991.
Trump is free to decline to file for the 2016 Ohio Republican primary if he wishes. Ohio is not one of the states that puts presidential candidates on a presidential primary ballot automatically if they are discussed in the news media. No one gets on an Ohio presidential primary ballot without filing a form, certifying that he or she has raised at least $5,000 in small donations in each of 20 states. See 3513.121 of the Ohio law.
And from BAN comments:
Steven R Linnabary:
FWIW, the Ohio republicans DID try to keep Gary Johnson off the 2012 general election ballot.
But they failed. That’s the point.
Sixth Circuit Upholds Discriminatory Michigan Ballot Access Law (Same Circuit as Ohio)
The pattern in these Ohio and Michigan cases has been that partisan Republican secretaries of state have gone against established precedent to invent new ways of keeping independent and alt party opposition off the ballot, and that the Republican-dominated state and US District courts have made it stick, with the US Supreme Court refusing to get involved.